“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”


Saturday, September 29, 2012

The homeschool room is done and wonderful!

Jasper checks out Silas as he's working on school assignments.

Si doing some worksheets with math. 

The little kids area - for Rowan and Izzy. Preschool stuff with tons of play things and a desk etc. So cute!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy One Hit Wonder Day!!

Create a playlist of the following 20 songs and celebrate

20. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
19. Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega
18. Venus by Shocking Blue

17. Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus (Yes.. the dad from Hannah Montana!!)
16. Mickey by Toni Basil

15. I'll be Gone by Spectrum
14. Tubthumping by Chumbawamba
13. Counting the beat by The Swingers

12. Slice of heaven by Dave Dobbyn and the Herbs

11. Rocking Robin by Bobby Day

10. Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth

9. Don't worry, by happy   by Bobby McFerrin
8. 99 Luftballoons by Nena
7. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum

6. Come on Eileen by Dexys midnight runners
5. Funkytown by Lipps Inc

4. Turning Japanese by The Vapors
3. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles
2. Born to be Alive by Patrick Hernandez

And the number one One Hit Wonder is....

1. My Sharona by The Knack!!!

Getting some water at the Buchtel spring. Oh so good.

Buchtel is locally known for a large local spring (nicknamed the "watering trough") close to State Route 78. This spring emerges from an abandoned mine shaft that has been dammed up. Many area residents get water at this spring.

Jiffy popcorn and science

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mom fights to ban toxins in school supplies

Mom fights to ban toxins in school supplies

Lori Popkewitz Alper is petitioning Disney to stop using toxin in its school products …A recent study has found high levels of toxic chemicals in children's school supplies -- levels so high that, if they were toys instead of backpacks, lunchboxes, and raincoats, they'd be banned by the U.S. government. And one Massachusetts mom is fighting back with a petition to make these products safer.

The chemicals, called phthalates, are commonly used to soften plastic and make vinyl. They're in everything from food packaging to plastic bottles, and are also used to make household cleaners and soaps smell good longer. According to a 2012 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, exposure to phthalates can change how the muscle cells in your heart function; exposure has also been linked to increased rates of asthma, early puberty, ADHD, diabetes, cancer, birth defects, and obesity. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk.

The study, "Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children's Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies, was conducted in August by the advocacy group The Center for Health, Environment & Justice. Though the group tested only 20 products, 75 percent of them were found to have high levels of phthalates -- and none of them had labels warning consumers about it. Of the products tested, one backpack, two lunch boxes, and three raincoats were made by Disney.

"They're all made from vinyl. And in order to use vinyl, they need to use phthalates," Lori Popkewitz Alper, who launched a petition on Change.org calling for Disney to stop using phthalates in their products, told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. "It was alarming to me when the study was released, showing that 75 percent of children's back-to-school supplies contain these high levels of phthalates. I felt a need to speak for people who may not have the awareness or the resources to know about this information."

Disney denies that their vinyl products are dangerous. “Producing safe and high quality products is our top priority and we meet or exceed all applicable safety standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the FDA and numerous other safety organizations," they said in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor health assessments and government recommendations on all materials used in our products.”

Unlike children's toys, from which phthalates have been banned since 2008, children's school supplies aren't regulated at all. According to the study, phthalates can migrate from inside the vinyl to the surface, where it can be released into the air or absorbed into other things. "Children may be exposed to elevated levels of these toxic substances by using these school supplies," the study pointed out. "Unfortunately, while phthalates have been banned in children's toys, similar safeguards do not yet exist to keep them out of lunchboxes, backpacks, binders, and other children's school supplies." That means the container in which your kid keeps her lunch could be leeching chemicals into her food -- and manufacturers don't even have to tell you about it.
The Center for Health, Environment & Justice sent 20 popular back-to-school items -- a mix of backpacks, raincoats, rainbows, three-ring binders, and lunch boxes -- to a New York lab for analysis. Six different kinds of phthalates -- DEP, DMP, DBP, DEHP, BBP, and DnOP -- and some heavy metals like lead and mercury were detected on the products.

"The Amazing Spider-Man Backpack contained an estimated 52,700 ppm (parts per million) and 14,900 ppm of DEHP in two different locations," researchers wrote. "If this product were a children's toy, it would be over 52 times the limit set by the Federal ban." Disney's Princess lunchbox contained an estimated 29,800 ppm of DEHP -- more than 29 times the limit if it had been a toy.

Parents can limit their children's exposure to phthalates by limiting the amount of vinyl and PVC plastic they use around the house, suggests Alper, an eco-wellness consultant and former lawyer who writes for and runs Groovy Green Livin', a green lifestyles blog.

"We really haven't had much vinyl in our house," she says. Reading about the study inspired the Bedford, Massachusetts mom of three to launch her petition, which has gathered about 55,000 signatures in less than three weeks. "I try to keep away from a lot of different plastics, especially when it's something that comes in contact with food."

Instead of disposable baggies, plastic containers, and vinyl lunch boxes, her family uses reusable cloth bags and stainless steel containers for packed lunches. "It's not only safer, it's also cost effective," Alper points out. "Once you have that stuff up front, you can just throw it in the washing machine and it's really easy to just continuously reuse." While she says she hasn't figured out an alternative to vinyl three-ring binders, her kids -- who are 12, 10, and 8 -- don't care to wear character themed vinyl raincoats, boots, or backpacks.

"You just want to make sure that you're not buying things with PVC or vinyl in them," she advises. "Some things are labeled and some things are not, so you really do have to do a little bit of legwork to make sure you're purchasing something that's safe."

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo Inc.


And here's more from another site........

Three Petitions You Might Want to Sign: Safer Lunch Boxes, Menu Labeling and Reducing Styrofoam Tray Use

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 11, 2012
When it rains, it pours.  Yesterday not one but three Change.org petitions came across my computer screen for worthy causes that might be of interest to Lunch Tray readers.

Toxins in Disney Lunch Boxes?
The first petition comes from Lori Popkewitz Alper, founder and editor of Groovy Green Livin’.  Like many of us, Lori is concerned about a recent report from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice which found that many vinyl-based school supplies, including lunch boxes and backpacks, contain exceedingly high levels of phthalates — far more than allowed by law in plastic toys.  Phthalates have been linked to birth defects and asthma, and Lori’s petition asks the Walt Disney Company to stop using phthalates in their Spiderman and Princess lunch boxes.  She’s already garnered a whopping 52,000+ signatures, and you can add your name to the effort here.  (By the way, while the petition is only addressed to Disney, as I’ve written about in the past, where Disney goes, other companies often follow.)

No Exemptions from Menu Labeling
The second petition, regarding menu labeling, was started by my on-line friend and colleague Nancy Huenergarth, a respected food policy and advocacy consultant.  In 2010, a federal law was passed requiring food establishments to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards.  But now the pizza industry, along with the movie theater, supermarket and convenience store industries, are trying to exempt themselves from and/or weaken this labeling law.  Given how many people eat food from these establishments (not to mention how much pizza we consume as a nation), this would seriously hinder those who want to eat more healthfully but can’t do so without basic nutritional information.  You can find Nancy’s petition here.

A Local Effort to Reduce the Use of Styrofoam Lunch Trays
Finally, I wanted to mention a petition that isn’t going to garner any national headlines but has a laudable goal.  A concerned parent in Georgia, Roxanne Russell, is asking her local school board to to eliminate the use of styrofoam lunch trays in her district’s schools just once a week — Trayless Tuesdays — as a first step toward greater sustainability.   You can show support for Roxanne’s petition here.

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Newfound Alien Planet a Top Contender to Host Life

A newly discovered alien planet may be one of the top contenders to support life beyond Earth, researchers say.
The newfound world, a "super Earth" called Gliese 163c, lies at the edge of its star's habitable zone — that just-right range of distances where liquid water could exist.
"There are a wide range of structures and compositions that allow Gliese 163c to be a habitable planet," Xavier Bonfils, of France's Joseph Fourier University-Grenoble, told SPACE.com by email.
He went on to caution that several possible uninhabitable combinations exist as well. [The Top 5 Potentially Habitable Alien Planets]
A newfound super Earth
Bonfils and an international team of astronomers studied nearly 400 red dwarf stars with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a spectograph on the 3.6-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Gliese 163c was one of two alien planets found orbiting the star Gliese 163, which lies about 50 light-years from Earth in the Dorado constellation. The team found indications of a third planet as well but cannot confirm it at this time.
Weighing in at about seven times the mass of Earth, Gliese 163c could be a rocky planet, or it could be a dwarfed gas giant, researchers said.
"We do not know for sure that it is a terrestrial planet," Bonfils said. "Planets of that mass regime can be terrestrial, ocean, or Neptune-like planets."
Orbiting at the inner edge of the habitable zone, Gliese 163c takes 26 days to zip around its parent star, which is considerably dimmer than our sun. The second planet, Gliese 163b, has an orbital period of only nine days, while the third unconfirmed planet circles from a distance.
Bonfils pointed out that there is about a 2 percent chance that Gliese 163c might pass between its star and the sun from Earth's perspective. If so, scientists may be able to glean more information about the distant planet by watching it cross the face of its host star.
The research has been submitted for review and publication.

A good candidate for life
The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo keeps a catalog of the alien worlds it considers good candidates to host life. The newly discovered Gliese 163c ranks fifth on the list.

"We are finding more potentially habitable planets now than before," PHL's Abel Mendez, who was not part of the Gliese 163c discovery team, told SPACE.com by email..

Out of the six planets on PHL's list, four have been found in the last year alone — Kepler-22b, Gliese 667Cc, HD 85512b, and, of course, Gliese 163c.

"Most of these are relatively close, so we can expect to find better and closer ones as our technological sensitivity to Earth-size planets improves," Mendez said.

To rank habitable planets, Mendez and his colleagues at PHL compare them with the only planet known to host life. They rank the worlds according to how similarly their masses, diameters and temperatures match up with those of Earth.

Temperatures of alien planets are tough for researchers to estimate. Temperature is heavily influenced by atmospheric characteristics, and scientists don't know much about most exoplanets' atmospheres.
Mendez suggested that one scenario for Gliese 163c might include a balmy ocean with an atmosphere 10 times as dense as Earth's. The global ocean might slosh beneath a pink, cloud-covered sky. At around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), the temperature would be too hot for prolonged human exposure or complex plants or animals, but some microbes could tolerate it.

But it's also possible that Gliese 163c is too hot for even those hardy lifeforms to exist.
In the meantime, Bonfils and his team intend to use HARPS to continue their search for planets that could be ripe for life, hoping to find one that may allow astronomers to study it today rather than tomorrow.
"Although it is nice to build the sample of possibly habitable planets that will be observed with the next generation of telescopes, it would be even better if we could find a planet one could characterize with today's observatories," Bonfils said.

Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.
Copyright 2012 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Massachusetts parents outraged after school doesn’t call 911 when daughter breaks arm

Fourth-grader Ally D'Eon suffered a nasty fall from her school's jungle gym on Tuesday, breaking her arm in two places. But her parents say the real offense occurred when school officials called the D'Eons to notify them of their daughter's injury, rather than calling 911 or an ambulance.

"The doctors in the emergency room and the nurses in the emergency room said, 'First aid 101, a break with a clear deformity needs an ambulance and it needs to be stabilized,'" Jenn D'Eon told WCVB.

The Lynn Daily Item reported that Veterans Memorial Elementary School Principal Jean Perry defended the decision, citing school district policy.

"The school nurse or another trained person will be responsible for administering first aid. When the nature of an illness or an injury appears in any way serious, every effort will be made to contact the parent and/or family physician immediately," the district policy reads, according to the paper.

Saugus Superintendent of Schools Richard P. Langlois also supported the school's decision in a statement, saying the "medical staff is fully qualified to make appropriate assessment and recommendation for treatment in such instances, and did so accordingly."

Nonetheless, Jenn D'Eon said the "case-by-case basis" school policy is ineffective and should be changed so that other students aren't left waiting in pain.

"I wanted to scream, 'Hurry up, get me out of here!'" Ally told WHDH.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

For my BFF Damion

Iz learns how to make star shaped frog-in-a-holes

I am not now - nor have I ever been - a morning person.

 I am trying hard to become an early riser... though I am definitely a true night owl. But I have found that I am far more productive if I have more time in the morning. (Though I have way more fun with less morning, and lots of time at night)

So, to continue with my new goal of getting in shape for the race - and for life - I made the < yawn + groan > decision to get up with the sun - or a little thereafter.

I gotta tell ya... it sucks so far today. I need coffee.

Mind you, I was raised at my grandparents bait store and hunted worms for $5 a quart. Oh wait... I always hunted worms at night. Ummm.... now this saying really confuses me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Si eats some steaming movies for lunch in between classes

Si and I took a field trip

Si and I were studying pond algae today and I wanted him to have a visual so we drove 10 miles away to check out this pond-scum covered pond. A cop stopped me to ask what I was doing.. lol. I told him it was for school and he laughed and said for us to be careful.

By seeing and feeling all this, Silas has a much better idea as to what we were studying today in science class.

Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!

Here's a few words and phrases to get start practicing..

Ahoy: Hey!
Avast: Stop!
Aye: Yes
Black spot: to be 'placin' the black spot' be markin' someone for death.
Booty: treasure
Buccaneer: a pirate who be answerin' to no man or blasted government.
By the Powers!: an exclamation, uttered by Long John Silver in Treasure Island!
Cat o' nine tails: whip for floggin' mutineers
Corsair: a pirate who be makin' his berth in the Med-...Medi-...that sea 'tween Spain and Africa, aye!
Davy Jones' Locker: the bottom o' the sea, where the souls of dead men lie
Doubloons: pieces of gold...
Fiddlers Green: the private heaven where pirates be goin' when they die.
Furner: a ship which be yer own, not one ye steal an' plunder.
Gentlemen o' fortune: a slightly more positive term fer pirates!
Go on the account: to embark on a piratical cruise
Grog: A pirate's favorite drink.
Jack: a flag or a sailor
Jolly Roger: the skull and crossbones, the pirate flag!
Keelhaul: a truly vicious punishment where a scurvy dog be tied to a rope and dragged along the barnacle-encrusted bottom of a ship. They not be survivin' this.
Landlubber: "Land-lover," someone not used to life onboard a ship.
Lass: A woman.
Lily-livered: faint o' heart
Loaded to the Gunwales (pron. gunnels): drunk
Matey: A shipmate or a friend.
Me hearty: a friend or shipmate.
Me: My.
Pieces o' eight: pieces o' silver which can be cut into eights to be givin' small change.
Privateer: a pirate officially sanctioned by a national power
Scallywag: A bad person. A scoundrel.
Scurvy dog!: a fine insult!
Shiver me timbers!: an exclamation of surprise, to be shouted most loud.
Son of a Biscuit Eater: a derogatory term indicating a bastard son of a sailor
Sprogs: raw, untrained recruits
Squadron: a group of ten or less warships
Squiffy: a buffoon
Swaggy: a scurvy cur's ship what ye be intendin' to loot!
Swashbucklin': fightin' and carousin' on the high seas!
Sweet trade: the career of piracy
Thar: The opposite of "here."
Walk the plank: this one be bloody obvious.
Wench: a lady, although ye gents not be wantin' to use this around a lady who be stronger than ye.
Wi' a wannion: wi' a curse, or wi' a vengeance. Boldly, loudly!
Yo-ho-ho: Pirate laughter

Friday, September 14, 2012

Izzy sorts without being asked to

When I inquired as to why she was doing it that way she said so she could count all the greens and the blues, etc. What a smartie pie!

speaking of 1814....

 Something fun to listen to today ... to go along with the Star Spangled Banner.

(Personally... I LOVE this song! Used to listen to it as a kid. Introduced it to Silas today - and he's now a fan too. It's so catchy! Give it a listen!)


Battle of New Orleans...

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see'd the British come.
And there must have been a hundred of'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring.
We stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.


Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets 'til we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire 'til we see'd their faces well.
Then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave 'em ... well


Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**

We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down.
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.


Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**

Silas and his FAVORITE school subject - science experiments!!

It's no wonder that one of his all-time favorite shows is Mythbuster.

It also happened today...

1868 - Golf's 1st recorded hole-in-one (Tom Morris at Prestwick's 8th hole)

 1872 - Britain pays US$15½m for damages during Civil War

 1891 - "Empire State Express" train goes from NYC to East Buffalo, a distance of 436 miles, in a record 7H6M

 1960 - Chubby Checker's "Twist" hits #1

 1964 - Walt Disney awarded Medal of Freedom at White House

1975 - Rembrandts "Nightwatch" slashed & damaged in Amsterdam

It happened on this day....

1814 - Francis Scott Key inspired to write "Star-Spangled Banner"

The Star-Spangled Banner

By Eva March Tappan
In 1814, while the War of 1812 was still going on, the people of Maryland were in great trouble, for a British fleet began to attack Baltimore. The enemy bombarded the forts, including Fort McHenry. For twenty-four hours the terrific bombardment went on.

"If Fort McHenry only stands, the city is safe," said Francis Scott Key to a friend, and they gazed anxiously through the smoke to see if the flag was still flying.

These two men were in the strangest place that could be imagined. They were in a little American vessel fast moored to the side of the British admiral's flagship. A Maryland doctor had been seized as a prisoner by the British, and the President had given permission for them to go out under a flag of truce, to ask for his release. The British commander finally decided that the prisoner might be set free - but he had no idea of allowing the two men to go back to the city and carry any information. "Until the attack on Baltimore is ended, you and your boat must remain here," he said.

The firing went on. As long as daylight lasted they could catch glimpses of the Stars and Stripes whenever the wind swayed the clouds of smoke. When night came they could still see the banner now and then by the blaze of the cannon. A little after midnight the firing stopped. The two men paced up and down the deck, straining their eyes to see if the flag was still flying. "Can the fort have surrendered?" they questioned. "Oh, if morning would only come!"

At last the faint gray of dawn appeared. They could see that some flag was flying, but it was too dark to tell which. More and more eagerly they gazed. It grew lighter, a sudden breath of wind caught the flag, and it floated out on the breeze. It was no English flag, it was their own Stars and Stripes. The fort had stood, the city was safe. Then it was that Key took from his pocket an old letter and on the back of it he wrote the poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The British departed, and the little American boat went back to the city. Mr. Key gave a copy of the poem to his uncle, who had been helping to defend the fort. The uncle sent it to the printer, and had it struck off on some handbills. Before the ink was dry the printer caught up one and hurried away to a restaurant, where many patriots were assembled. Waving the paper, he cried, "Listen to this!" and he read:

"O say, can you see,
by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there.
O say, does the star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

"Sing it! sing it!" cried the whole company. Charles Durang mounted a chair and then for the first time "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung. The tune was "To Anacreon in Heaven," an air which had long been a favorite. Halls, theaters, and private houses rang with its strains.
The fleet was out of sight even before the poem was printed. In the middle of the night the admiral had sent to the British soldiers this message, "I can do nothing more," and they hurried on board the vessels. It was not long before they left Chesapeake Bay altogether - perhaps with the new song ringing in their ears as they went.

I printed these two items for my lesson plan....

 And here's two fun craft ideas. Silas is going to paint a picture for his project. I can't wait to see it.

Whitney singing it ... amazingly!